Bike best suited for touring



Nu2Touring

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Jun 26, 2006
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I've been a casual cyclist for most of my life (I'm in my 20's), but I recently decided I want to start taking long road trips. I'm also in the market for a new bike, because the one I have is getting old, and I'm looking for the bike best suited for distance touring. What would yall recommend? I realize it's an open ended question, but I really don't know much, so any random opinions would be helpful.
 

xilios

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May 2, 2004
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Nu2Touring said:
I've been a casual cyclist for most of my life (I'm in my 20's), but I recently decided I want to start taking long road trips. I'm also in the market for a new bike, because the one I have is getting old, and I'm looking for the bike best suited for distance touring. What would yall recommend? I realize it's an open ended question, but I really don't know much, so any random opinions would be helpful.

It all depends on the size of your wallet really.
If you want something to last a lifetime, it will cost you a couple thousand euros.
But then again on the other side of the scale I picked up a used Gazzele Playa (Dutch model) all set up for touring 3 bottle cages and the right gear ratios for 300 euros. I got some cheap racks and panniers another 200 and a Brooks flyer leather saddle for another 60.
It took me from Holland to Greece last year with NO problem at all. And my wife and I just came back home, we rode from Holland to Barcelona. Again NO problem.
Her bike is a Trek 7.2FX WSD got that one new for 300 euros added racks, panniers, replaced the front sprockets, installed butterfly handle bars and got a Brooks Flyer saddle for ladies all for another 300 and so far NO problems.
I'm sure these bikes (with some care) will last us a very long time.
There are many other models in all price ranges, buttom line really is what kind of riding you plan on doing, and how many kms per year.
Under 10000 km per year and get something under 1000 euros.
This is my opinion, if you ask 10 cycling tourists they will give 10 different answers. Check these forums out, a lot more discusion on the subject here.
Hope it helps some cheers
 

philso

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Jul 19, 2005
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$2,000+ is what it costs for a custom built bike. other bikes will also last your lifetime, though parts become harder to get after 20 or 30 years.

for a decent touring bike, somewhere around $1,000, plus or minus.

many consider the trek 520 the best of the off-the-rack touring bikes. other models include:

bianchi volpe
fuji tourer
jamis aurora
rei randonee
cannondale (800?, the name escapes me)

for plenty of more detail, do a search for these on this forum and also on this one:
http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php?f=47

hope this gets you off to a good start ;)
 

RabiddogK

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Jun 20, 2006
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Touring bikes are designed specifically for touring. Trek, SchwinnVoyageur and Cannondale's touring bike are all winners. They have a longer wheel base for more shock absorbsion throughout the frame.
They come with both climbing and high end gear ratios and typically stronger rear wheels to better suppport your panniers extra weight. You can't go wrong with any of the bikes mentioned. Happy touring.
 

daveornee

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Sep 18, 2003
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Nu2Touring said:
I've been a casual cyclist for most of my life (I'm in my 20's), but I recently decided I want to start taking long road trips. I'm also in the market for a new bike, because the one I have is getting old, and I'm looking for the bike best suited for distance touring. What would yall recommend? I realize it's an open ended question, but I really don't know much, so any random opinions would be helpful.
Bruce Gordon
Surly Long Haul Trucker
Waterford Adventure Cycle or T-14
Co-Motion Americano
are all worth a look
 

Velotour

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Sep 14, 2006
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Nu2Touring said:
I've been a casual cyclist for most of my life (I'm in my 20's), but I recently decided I want to start taking long road trips. I'm also in the market for a new bike, because the one I have is getting old, and I'm looking for the bike best suited for distance touring. What would yall recommend? I realize it's an open ended question, but I really don't know much, so any random opinions would be helpful.
It is not necessary to pay out big bucks for a good touring bike. If Schwinn still makes them you can get one for a few hundred dollars new. The differences between an expensive model and a cheaper model are mostly frill. I toured all over the world with a Schwinn Le Tour bike for years with no problem at all. It cost $190.00. You can pick up a good, second hand touring frame at a bike shop cheap and put on components and go. We saw a really good used Trek mountain bike---about $450.00--- at a Goowdwill store for about forty dollars. Somebody went back to get it and it was gone already. I saw a good Trek hybrid for $75.00. I saw an excellent Fuji touring bike at a thrift store for fifty dollars. You can get a good deal if you look. Those frames are strong. They last. Then you just replace components as they wear out which you will have to do in any case.

Let me give you an example of high cost vs low cost. I was cycling the northern tier of the USA. I met a newly married couple doing the northern tier on a Santana tandem. Sure it was expensive. I think they paid thousands to outfit, and the guy was telling me how his rear wheel cost over $250.00. We cycled together and met along the way a number of times. Then a spoke broke in their rear wheel. I was there when he tried to replace the spoke.

The freewheel had tightened so hard going up all those hills with two people and gear aboard it was impossible to loosen it. The spoke broke on the freewheel side of course. He actually stripped the teeth out of the freewheel with the freewheel removing tool trying to get it to loosen. He ended up spending hours with it and finally made hundreds of microbends in the spoke to thread it on past the freewheel. Now, if the wheel was so expertly made, why did they not make a stop on the threatd to prevent that happening on a tendem? When I broke a spoke on my Schwinn I spent a few minutes and was done. His rear wheel cost more than my entire bike and panniers, but when the problem came the high dollar item made the problem worse.

When I tour I carry a simple polyeurethane coated tarp for shelter. It has always kept me warm and dry even in winter. I have tried more expensive shelters and they always failed in one way or another.

Very expensive bikes may be a little stronger than their cheaper counterparts but mostly the high dollar items are a status statement more than a functional superiority. That is my experience anyway.
 

rcrampton

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Mar 17, 2005
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It seems like the first step is to narrow it down a bit. As others mentioned you can spend from < $200 to > $3000 on a bike.

- Do you want a custom made dream machine or do prefer to get more value/$?
- Do you plan to tour on nasty off road stretches or will you keep to pavement and good quality dirt/gravel?
- Will you be fully loaded with lots of gear or do you prefer to stay in hotels and move fast/light?
 

Velotour

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Sep 14, 2006
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That's right. It depends on exactly what you mean by road touring. If you stop in motels all the time you can even tour on a racing bike. Any well founded touring bike will do. If you can afford to purchase a status symbol machine they are out there to be bought. I met a guy who toured across America on a racing bike with one inch wide tires.

The main things about the touring bike are these: 1. It must be the right size for your body with all correct adjustments. 2. The tube angles must be correct for maximum pedaling efficiency.3. It should be of the lighter weight varieties, chromoly is good, and very strong. 4. It must have all fittings for racks, fenders,water bottle cage.

Ride one of those cheap K Mart bikes for a while and then ride a well made touring machine. You will feel the difference almost immediately.

You might be surprised what you can get at garage sales sometimes. I picked up a brand new set of four Cannondale panniers and a handle bar bag for forty dollars. I knew a guy who got a like new Fuji touring bike for twenty dollars. Sometimes thrift shops get things from estate clearances and they do not know what they have. I mean, they could have an eight hundred bike going for fifty dollars. I saw a perfectly good quality touring bike at a yard sale for twenty dollars. I was on tour at the time. The sale was out in the middle of nowhere. If I had had a way to ship it home I definitely would have bought it and shipped it home because I knew that with a change of components that bike would be good for many thousands of miles of touring.

Im am just saying it is not necessary to go out and spend thousands of dollars to outfit for a successful long-distance bicycle tour. I have toured for years on the same two bikes having only to change the moving parts as they wear out, and you will have to do that on any frame no matter how much you pay for it. The frame broke at a welded point on my Schwwinn Le Tour bike but that was done by British Airways in shipping and had nothing to do with normal use. They paid to have it repaired.